Skip to main content

3 minute read - Productivity

How to find out where the time goes

Jan 24, 2008

jWorkSheet is one of the secret tools that form part of my productivity armoury.

NOTE: 20200604 I used to use jWorkSheet a lot. Now I don’t. I simplified my process further and maintain a text document or an Evernote Note as a ‘daily’ notes sheet, I track my work and time in there. I don’t really have to track time at the granular level that I used to. If I did, I would revisit jWorkSheet and see if it met my needs.

What does it do? Why do I use it?….

Well, I work across multiple projects and if I like to be able to see which projects are taking most of my time. If I don’t track my time I get to the end of the day and go “so what did I do all day?”.

If you face a similar issue then…jWorkSheet might help you.

jWorkSheet has gives me the ability to report on where I have been spending my time. When I need to do that formally, or informally.

I needed a (Project -> Task -> event) model where I could track work-done-time spent on Tasks across disparate days or weeks I don’t often get to work on a single task for a number of days (or hours) straight.

I was originally using a spreadsheet that I wrote, because I would periodically browse the web but never found anything that worked the way that I did.

But jWorkSheet uses this exact model!

You setup the projects and tasks on one tab, then in another tab you track your day.

I use the default reports and haven’t tried customising them. The reports are all written in XSL so it should be a simple matter to write my own when I need to.

Now for a lot of people the notion of tracking their time on an event by event basis is ’tooooo much work’. But I find it a useful practice to log what I do.

I carry this practice through to my testing, where I log the decisions I make, the thoughts that I have, the things that I do. When I do this incrementally across the day, as it happens, it really isn’t too much work, it is simply a natural part of each task. When I switch task - I spend 5 seconds making a note of it.

The end result of all these 5 seconds? A feeling of control and the ability to see where my time goes so no more uncertainty. And with that comes the ability to use this information to plan more effectively, to make decisions about priority and optimisation more effectively.

If you don’t track your time during the day then I’d suggest as an experiment to you that you try it. And if you already do it, then see if jWorkSheet works for you.


You will need a Github account to comment. Or you can contact me with your comment.

I reserve the right to delete spam comments e.g. if your comment adds no value and its purpose is simply to create a backlink to another site offering training, or courses, etc.